The Shades - Evgenia Citkowitz
Evgenia Citkowitz explores the devastating effects of loss in her first full-length novel The Shades. Catherine is a gallery owner who is still reeling from the loss of her daughter in an accident over a year ago. She wanders around the family’s country home-unable to return to work, barely coping with daily activities, and hiding from neighbors and friends. Her husband is spending increasingly more time at their London address, working and trying to reconcile his own beliefs about his relationship with Catherine before it became so distant and disconnected. Their teenage son, Rowan, has reacted to the death of his sister by running away to a private school. He becomes increasingly involved with environmental activism and seeks concrete ways to wrest back control of his life. The short novel alternates between these three characters, highlighting their separation and alienation from the world and each other. When a strange waif-like girl arrives at her doorstep, claiming to be the daughter of the previous owners, Catherine immediately sees her as a surrogate for her own lost child. Catherine become increasingly obsessed with taking this stranger under her wing, but Keira may not be who she claims to be. Catherine may not be able to recover from another loss and she is casting about for a sense of purpose as depression threatens to overwhelm her. In The Shades, Citkowitz provides a dense tale filled with emotion and a sense of lingering despair as this small family verges on collapse under the weight of their own grief.